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About Amy Umble: Amy Umble writes about religion and social issues affecting the Fredericksburg community. You can email her at

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Pathways to the Future

Three months ago, my life changed completely: My husband and I welcomed our third child into the world. As you may imagine, this has been a huge adjustment for us. And returning from maternity leave has been a challenge. It’s so hard to leave my daughter each morning–especially as she now laughs and kicks her feet whenever she sees me. I don’t get that sort of reaction from anyone else.

But leaving Harper was not the most challenging part of coming back to work. A week before my maternity leave ended, my oldest son’s caregiver announced that he found a new job. So we scrambled to find a makeshift caregiving solution. It’s not easy finding someone who can take care of a severely autistic 15-year old. And so I headed back to work with a general anxiety and a temporary solution in place.

When you have a child with autism, you face multiple challenges every day.  In my case, it’s like raising a toddler who’s bigger than you are. There is always a new problem to solve. This week, we’re trying to figure out how to keep him from leaving the house. We can’t just install locks at the top of the door; Xander can reach higher than I can.

On top of the myriad everyday challenges, there is always a looming fear of the future. It would be hard to plan for Xander’s future anyway. The resources are slim and the needs are great. There is also a lot of uncertainty and confusion.

But an event this weekend aims to reduce this uncertainty and confusion for parents of children with disabilities.

The Pathways to the Future transition conference will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Chancellor High School. There will be breakout sessions, a vendor fair, a light breakfast and a boxed lunch. Information will be provided about: employment, college, assistive technology, Medicaid waivers, estate planning, transportation, housing and more. Click here to register.

For more details, contact Call Peggy Dougherty or Sandy Sprague at the Spotsylvania Parent Resource Center 540-582-7583 option 6 or Kim Lett at the disAbility Resource Center at 540-373-2559